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The argument for 4k PC gaming.

Content of the article: "The argument for 4k PC gaming."

I commonly see across multiple subreddits that the vast majority of people think that 4k is largely useless for gaming, for various reasons. While I agree that this is certainly the case in some instances, there are some seldom brought up counterpoints(which I will try to provide below).

First of all, the idea that 4k vs 1440p isn't that noticeable is flat out false. Is it as noticeable as previous resolution jumps? No. But, it's still VERY noticeable, and unarguably is substantially better at similar frame rates. People made the same arguments about 720p to 1080p, and 1080p to 1440p way back when. These false arguments always seem to exist when a new resolution comes out(and always seem to get disproven as the new resolution is adopted).

The real question isn't whether it's noticeable… it's a question of HOW noticeable compared to the extra frames(and/or higher settings) you could get on 1440p, or 1080p. Lets compare all 3.

With 1080p/240hz you can push 240hz on some AAA games. Most people would argue that the difference between 144hz and 240hz isn't only small outside of competitive settings… it's downright hard to even tell the difference side by side in many cases(Linus did some tests on this, and many people couldn't even tell the difference, or pick which is which). So, in general, 1080p with a high level GPU is a waste of resources, because it pumps so much processing power into getting frames past 144hz, where the differences become hard to notice.

1440p/144hz on the other hand allows you to fully utilize your hardware in AAA games in a more efficient way. Instead of putting that "computing power" in near pointlessly increasing the FPS past 144, you're putting into extra pixels which vastly increase picture quality over 1080p. With 1440p/144hz, you have good versatility. You can choose to lower quality, and get higher framerates(120+). Or you can choose higher quality, and get lower framerates(60-120). In many games going from medium to high, or high to ultra may not look very different, and you may want the extra frames. In other games, you may care about having that "high" detail levels, even if it means playing at lower framerates. Also, for competitive games, you can achieve a nice 144hz. For older games, or games locked to 60hz, you can utilize your beast GPU to at least make the picture higher resolution. It's a great middle ground.

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Now lets talk 4k/144hz. 4k/144hz offers arguably even GREATER versatility compared to a 1440p/144hz setup. Not only can you play your competitive games at 144hz, in 4k(which benefits many competitive games, where extra pixels allows you to see farther more clearly). You also have the ability to play your older games, where your hardware isn't fully utilized in AMAZING 4k. 4k/144hz's massive versatility allows you to use much more of your hardware's potential in games that aren't that demanding. Considering a huge portion of gamers aren't only playing AAA new games, this applies to a large % of PC gamers.

For AAA games with 4k/144hz, you have different choices compared to 1440p/144hz, or 1080p/240hz. Basically, instead of having ultra, or extreme graphics settings, instead you're making your whole picture clearer. The trade off is that you will be using medium, or high setttings on 4k as opposed to high or ultra on 1440p. With many games the difference in resolution provides better fidelity than the difference between high and ultra(which is often, like 144hz to 240hz, hard to even tell the difference even if you try).

So, in many cases(not all), you are sacrificing game settings which don't make much difference, in order to get a higher resolution which makes a very noticeable, objectively better difference.

When you combine this with the fact that 4k/144hz allows you to BOTH play competitive games at competitive framerates, AND play older games in 4k… the amount of versatility is truly amazing with 4k/144hz.

It's not just about how well a single game plays on 1440p/144hz vs 4k/144hz for most people. It's about the OVERALL use of the montior.

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1440p/144hz can't play 4k media.

1440p/144hz can't play older games in 4k.

1440p/144hz can't play competitive games at 144hz with extra pixels that 4k has to give more visual clarity.

1440p/144hz doesn't make use of DLSS as efficiently as 4k.

1440p/144hz is a "stopgap" measure between the two standards(1080p and 4k), and thus will eventually suffer from lack of content, and lack of support(compared to the standards). You have to remember, 1440p in general is a very niche thing… TVs and phones pretty much skipped right over it, and are just going from 1080p to 4k.

So, is my point that you should go out and buy a 4k/144hz monitor today? No, and the reason is ONLY because they aren't mass producing monitors, nor connections to easily support it yet. It's not a lack of technology holding it back… it's just a lack of GPU power(which has now been solved to the degree that 4k is so mainstream in video games it's entering consoles, which are generally behind PC normally).

Even today, if 4k/144hz monitors were mass produced, and reasonably priced, I would probably buy one(along with a 3080). Personally I'm waiting for DP2.0, and the 4080(and AM5 and DDR5). But, I see all of these arguments against the viability of 4k gaming in the near future, and I wanted to offer the other side of the story.

One of the biggest benefits that people overlook with 4k/144hz is the versatility. It simply offers so many things that 1440p/144hz cannot. So much of the conversation is based around benchmarking the newest AAA games which aren't even the most played games… it's just because they are good at benchmarking.

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If you don't even play RDR2, you shouldn't be basing the viability of 4k/144hz, or which type of setup you would most benefit from based on RDR2 benchmarks, or people telling you "RDR2 can't reach 4k/144hz, so why would you want a 4k/144hz monitor".

That's all folks.


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